U of M health provider tries another way to save on health-care costs

By Jeff Hansel

Bobbie Lauer, west region leader for sales with Definity Health, which provides health plans for University of Minnesota employees, said her company has been able to save costs for employers by allowing workers to make health-care decisions themselves.

With "consumer-driven" health care, she said, employees get money in a health account. Employees choose the services they need. If they don't use all the money, it rolls over to the next year.

By offering this system, Lauer said, companies have seen better control of their health costs because employees begin to look at the cost of services.


"People start to make those cost-benefits tradeoffs," she said.

The plan, she said, includes giving employees information, such as the price of prescription and generic medications.

"The idea is to start to bring people closer to health-care decisions from a quality, treatment and cost standpoint," she said. Consumer-driven plans, she said, are the fastest-growing type of health-care option in the country.

"It's very much about getting people to see what the costs are, and it's not just cost. It's also helping them know what their options are. …; It's meant to bring you closer to reality."

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